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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Movement--One of the Secrets of Life

For over 30 years I have watched a wonderful group of patients dedicate themselves to motion of some sort or another. They are not the athletes you read in the papers, some would not consider themselves athletes at all, but they deeply understand that movement is crucial to their lives. I have helped them occasionally through life’s ups and downs, but mainly observed them and been inspired by them. This motion may start physically with some activity, but it is part of a larger pattern of involvement in life. They are engaged in life, inspired by some passion, or just very very grateful for their time here. Daily they open the package called the Present and celebrate in their own unique ways.

I have come to appreciate the movement or rhythms of their lives. I can only weakly imitate some, as I try myself to find my rhythm of success. It is a type of success in life that is taught through movement. Respect of the body and of others. Respect of the soul, that inner force, that calls each of us. That movement is away from the couch, away from self-pity, from inertia. It is one of the deepest secrets in life that I know. Most 80 year olds know that if you stop moving, you might as well cash it in. They understand. I hope I understand at 56. Can most 20 year olds understand, it probably depends how reflective they are?

The struggles to keep going is sometimes the food of the soul. In injuries, or disabilities, great lessons are learned. But in appreciating movement, deep truths are experienced and learned. An athlete that is self-centered has not learned the truth. A true athlete will learn many truths (humility, patience, kindness, etc.) when the secret of movement is realized.

One example of a person in motion is from my early days at Saint Francis Hospital in San Francisco. There was a funny old doctor when I first started—Dr Waldo Newberg. Funny because he ran everywhere, between the office to the hospital, his car to the office, the elevator to the lunch room. When I first met him, I didn’t know what to think. I hadn’t learned the secret lessons of motion, even though I was an athlete. Dr Newberg had 7 children, donated time and money to the missionaries in Africa, ran the San Francisco Marathon when he was 80, and he never was rushed to say hello, or to answer any question.

Yet, my mother-in-law Marilyn is another wonderful example even though she would say she is allergic to exercise. Her day is one of beautiful movement. A mother of 5 with all her children and grandchildren daily in her conversations and concerns, she is always helping out. Always driving where she is needed, always bringing the family closer, always a beacon of love for those fortunate to know her. You never know what city Marilyn will spend her day in, but everyone always feels her loving force, moving the conversation along, moving the grandkids to another event, moving the inertia personally from this world in a fully-centered way.

So, this movement is with the body, but it must come from the heart. It must come from deep within us. When it comes from this depth, a force is noted by all those around. It becomes an inspiration of how to live our lives. I feel that with my basketball. I feel a deep connection to my being in my struggles and in my successes to move my body as I did as a 20 year old. My job would tie me to a desk, dragging me into stillness, dragging me into 40 more pounds. I need the movement of basketball 3 to 4 times a week to pull me out of my inertia and awaken my soul. I am a better person because of it. When I can’t play basketball anymore, I pray I can find another way to keep moving, keep being engaged, keep caring, keep loving today for the Present it is.


  1. Dr. Waldo Newberg was my uncle (my father's brother). Your brief description brought a smile to my face as I also remember my uncle as a runner. When I visited my aunt and uncle, he would wake me up early for long runs through the beautiful area surrounding his house. I remember thingking how odd it was that he would always run in his dress/work shoes, not running shoes as would be expected.
    Thanks for the memory.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Peter Newberg

  2. Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading.


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